Work begins on new power plant in Veytaux

Forces Motrices Hongrin-Léman SA (FMHL) this morning began construction work on the new power plant in Veytaux at a foundation stone-laying ceremony attended by the authorities of the cantons of Vaud and Fribourg and the municipality. The ceremony officially launched the construction site of the new underground power plant which will enable the facility to double its power and production capacity and play an important role in supplying Western Switzerland with electricity in the future. Work will be completed by the end of 2014 and represents an investment of CHF 330 million.

FMHL operates a pumped storage hydroelectric power plant. The distinguishing feature of the facility is its ability to discharge water from the Hongrin dam to fuel the turbines of the Veytaux power plant located 800m below, and then reverse the process during periods of low electricity demand. Water is then pumped up from Lake Geneva and stored in the Hongrin reservoir ready for use during peak hours when demand is at its highest. The objective of the work that is now underway is to increase the plant’s total capacity by constructing a new underground cavern near to the existing one at Veytaux. Two additional pump-turbine groups with a total capacity of 240 MW will be installed, bringing the plant’s total installed capacity to 480 MW, of which 420 will be used for operations and 60 held in reserve. According to FMHL Chairman Pierre-Alain Urech: “The new plant will enable the facility to double its output capacity, while the generation of peak electricity will also be doubled, thus allowing the plant to play an important role in supplying electricity to Western Switzerland.”

A facility in Western Switzerland that supplements renewable energies

The new power plant will help to meet the growing demand for balancing energy which is mainly due to the growth of new renewable energies in Europe and Switzerland. The plant will in effect provide a supply of renewable hydroelectric power that can be fed into the grid as and when required as a supplement to solar or wind power, which is being developed both in our canton and in the rest of the country. Representatives of the cantons of Vaud and Fribourg were in attendance along with the Mayor of Veytaux and Villeneuve for the official ceremony marking the inauguration of the work that will continue until the end of 2014 and which represents an investment of some CHF 330 million. The Mayor of Veytaux Christine Chevalley underlined the fact that “the Municipality has supported the new hydropower plant project from the outset as it makes Veytaux an important centre in the generation of renewable energy.”

Further information:

Pierre-Alain Urech Chairman of FMHL +41 21 802 95 67 E-mail: pierre-alain.urechmail@romande-energieweb.ch